“This is it.” Those were the opening words of Kimi Raikkonen as he announced his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season. Quite surprisingly, and so fittingly, the Finn made his statement on his Instagram handle. There was no press conference or PR from the team. Like much of his racing career, Kimi announced it on his terms and in his way.
In his final season, he’s with the team where he started his F1 career: Sauber (currently known as Alfa Romeo ORLEN). While the team has been struggling in comparison to rivals who have managed to improve for 2021, we hope to see him fighting for points till the very last race in Abu Dhabi. Many tributes to the icon have already been pouring out online, but perhaps his current team boss Fred Vasseur summed it up best, “There isn’t any driver out there like Kimi Raikkonen”.
It was an announcement that we all sensed coming from the 41-year old, one-time F1 World Champion. Yet, it still hurts to say farewell to one of the most endearing racing drivers in the sport today. We will pen a proper tribute to Kimi Raikkonen at a later date but feel free to share your favourite memory of him in the comments below.
Perez and Alonso To Stay At Red Bull And Alpine Respectively For 2022
Before the season resumed at the Belgian GP, we got news of two more driver seats being confirmed for the 2022 season. Red Bull have opted to keep Sergio Perez alongside Max Verstappen for another season. The title contenders are probably hoping to make the most of having an experienced racer alongside their hot-tempered front-runner to balance out the team.
Meanwhile, Alpine have hung onto their experienced driver too in the form of Fernando Alonso. It seemed inevitable after his stellar drive in the Hungarian GP that allowed Esteban Ocon to take victory but it’s good to know that the Spanish fighter is sticking around. We look forward to seeing if Alpine’s 2022 car will be able to challenge for the podium regularly.
2021 F1 Calendar Revised Again, Japanese GP Cancelled
The COVID crisis continues to play havoc with global events and travel plans and major sports like F1 have to keep adapting to new developments. Japan has had to pull out once again due to the number of fresh cases due to the more infectious variants of the virus, bringing the season’s tally to 22 races. While the next three GPs will take place as scheduled, most other races have been pushed back by a week. The venue of the 20th race is yet to be confirmed but rumours suggest that F1 will be going to Qatar ahead of the Saudi Arabian GP.
Here’s how the rest of the 2021 F1 calendar stands after the latest revisions:
F1 Commission to review regulations after the wet Belgian GP fiasco
The endless rain at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend had washed out the entire race on Sunday. But since the drivers had completed two laps behind the Safety Car, it counted as a race as per the current FIA regulations. As a result, the drivers were awarded half the normal points for their qualifying order. It also denied the attending fans the opportunity to demand some sort of compensation for the lack of any racing action despite waiting many hours in the endless downpour.
People have taken issue with the fact that drivers got points for not racing at all as driving under SC conditions does not allow for any overtaking. Therefore, those laps should not be counted as racing laps. The other fact is that the fans deserve better for their dedication to the sport despite the extraordinary challenge presented by the weather.
FIA President Jean Todt published this statement two days after the race:
“This year’s Belgian Grand Prix presented extraordinary challenges to the FIA Formula One World Championship. The weather windows predicted by the forecasters did not appear throughout the day, and while a small window did appear late in the day during which there was an attempt to start the race, conditions quickly worsened again. Therefore, due to the lack of visibility created by the spray behind the cars, we could not run the full race in sufficiently safe conditions for the drivers, marshals, as well as the brave spectators who waited many hours in the rain, for whom I am very sorry.
This has been recognised by all stakeholders.
The FIA Stewards have, based on the provisions of the International Sporting Code, stopped the competition to gain more time, and therefore more potential, to give the fans an F1 race. Despite these efforts, the race could not be started after the Safety Car laps, and the existing regulations have been correctly applied. I would like to thank and congratulate the FIA team, the ASN and all the volunteers for the quality of their work.
The FIA, together with Formula 1 and the teams, will carefully review the regulations to see what can be learned and improved for the future. The findings, including the topic of points allocation, will be added to the agenda of the next F1 Commission meeting on October 5.”
Formula 1 themselves put out this statement not long after:
Following the impact of the weather on the Belgium Grand Prix on Sunday 29th August, Formula 1 and the promoter are working through various options for ticker holders, to express our recognition and thanks to them for their dedication and commitment. We will provide further details as soon as possible as we want to thank the fans for their continued support and passion for Formula 1.
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